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Sneak peek of the upcoming four-door Tesla Model S

Tesla's new Roadster Sport should offer powerful performance for an electric vehicle at a lofty cost.  (Source: Tesla Motors)
After a tough year, with many cuts, Tesla believes it is finally competitive

It’s been a grueling year for Tesla Motors.  The company angered many of its employees last  year when it laid off nearly its entire Michigan staff, which first found out they were losing their jobs not from Tesla itself, but by a posting on a financial blog.  Later in the year, Tesla seemed poised to make a comeback, announcing its sporty new Tesla Roadster Sport electric vehicle, available for those who preordered the Roadster.  However, it then proceeded to anger customers who preordered by raising the price on the base Roadster model.

However, despite its trials and tribulations, the fledgling company says it will be sold out of Roadsters until around November and that by the middle of the year it should finally be posting profits.  Founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk, who became a billionaire by founding PayPal, also announced that Tesla will be receiving a $350M USD federal loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to help finance the development of its upcoming electric 4-door sedan, to be released in 2011.

Mr. Musk praised the Obama administration for its helping hand, stating, "The Obama administration has thankfully made it a top priority to move quickly on the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program."

Tesla has experienced some preorder customers cancelling their orders "due to buyers experiencing personal financial difficulties".  However, there seems to be plenty who have the money and still want to get the hot new car.  It expects all of its 2009 production of the $109,000 vehicles to sell out.

In 2008, Tesla cut 24 percent of its staff, but it managed to produce 200 Roadsters, and is still sitting on 1,000 reported preorders.  Customers pay $12,000 up front to reserve the right to own one of the hot new vehicles.  Battery packs for the vehicle are reported to last 7 years or 100,000 miles and cost around a staggering $36,000 to replace.

The prototype of the upcoming Model S 4-door sedan will be unveiled on March 26, according to Mr. Musk.  He says that he will be offering a discount of $10,000 to those who preordered the Roadster and want to switch to the sedan as a "gesture of gratitude for their early support."

Tesla also recently announced a partnership with Germany's Daimler AG to create a plug-in version of Daimler's Smart minicar.  Mr. Musk announced that he is currently in the pursuit of two more major deals with other companies.  He also announced that Tesla is set to open stores in Chicago and London and is close to reaching agreements for stores in Miami, New York, Seattle and Munich.

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A $15,000 car?
By MoJo600rr on 2/12/2009 1:02:28 PM , Rating: 2
There are no cars for $15,000 that offer this performance. The econo-box rally cars (neon srt4, wrx, mazdaspeed3, evo) all go for around $30k and dont offer the performance of this car, and they are all based upon the cheapest car in the manufacturers inventory. This car is made by a world renowned sports car company, Lotus, based upon its latest creation, the Elise, which is a $45-50k car. add to that the $25k AC motor drive train and batteries that apparently cost about $36k, and there you go. If we ran from new tech, we would still be using horse and carriages, which by the way, eat grass (renewable) and produce methane (to power lights, if thats not too hi-tech for you). I personnally am not into the whole Amish thing.

RE: A $15,000 car?
By Totally on 2/12/2009 1:24:27 PM , Rating: 1
negative, only the chassis mostly is sourced from lotus. And Unless it's made from exotic materials and or process the chassis usu. is one of the less costly parts of a vehicle.

RE: A $15,000 car?
By Samus on 2/13/2009 12:54:18 AM , Rating: 2
Carbon Fiber is a pretty exotic material if you ask me, and the whole fucking body is made out of it. I would definately consider that to be one of the most expensive parts. Just an aftermarket front bumper for the Elise costs $10,000, but the Tesla Roadster already has it, and all the other panels, too.

RE: A $15,000 car?
By The0ne on 2/12/2009 1:27:03 PM , Rating: 1
I believe it uses some aspects of Lotus but not all and therefore can't really be justify in a direct comparison. I for one love the Lotus suspension, always had since Espirit, but I don't Tesla uses their technology.

But in general you are correct in your comment. I have a evo x and with a couple of more mods and tunes (<$5k) I have a good competitor for cheaper, maybe just not as comfortable :D

In any case, I hope this company tanks as well. I dislike paypal for the same reasons some have already stated above. Personally and for many reasons I can't justify this company surviving for the average Joe. Heck, I can't even stomach this news...profit mid this year from overcharging customers, laying off most of the workers and getting bailout money...yea, that's one "good" type of profit alright.

RE: A $15,000 car?
By A Stoner on 2/12/2009 1:40:48 PM , Rating: 2
I love the idea of an electric vehicle, electric motors have constant torque through the full RPM range they work, and thus will make very high acceleration safer, my understanding is that you do not have to shift an electric motor driven vehicle, because the motor does not lag in power due to too high or too low RPMs, again making them safer. Trains are mostly all electric driven and get great fuel economy, but they use an internal combustion engine to create that electricity.

I am not against new tech. I am against uneconomical new tech being forced upon people for pseudo scientific justification that just happens to fit into the socialist, communist loving people's theories of peoples right place in this world, which is SUBSERVIENT TO GOVERNMENT and not the other way around as well as humans are less important than plants and animals. If the people like the car for the car, that is great, but I suspect a large majority of the people are buying it for the "Green Factor" in order to be a bunch of snobs as shown on South Park. Smug arrogant elite people who are showing the masses how they should live, which is completely outside the reality of the fact that these "Green" items are FAR and AWAY more inefficient than your everyday items. The volkswagon beatle of the 1960's got 35MPG, it did not have any gimmicks in it, we can get 100MPG from a motorcycle with no gimicks. The only thing we have to do is cut the size/weight and power along with every bit of safety that size and weight and the manueverability that power offers to do it.

There is no environment savings from these vehicles. Every last bit of gasoline that is saved and probably much more is burned somewhere else in the manufacture of the thing. The battery pack is $36,000, exactly where do you think the price comes from for that $36,000? It is from the fact that it takes vast amounts of energy to get the raw materials and turn them into batteries. Once again, I could care less if people buy these things, but I do care when my tax dollars go into funding the whole retarded mess. Trust me, tons of tax dollars are going into this mess, and that is the final straw that puts them in the "green" as in profitable.

RE: A $15,000 car?
By yomamafor1 on 2/12/2009 2:54:49 PM , Rating: 5
I agree. The cost of the battery itself probably outweighs the benefits of zero-emission. Think about it. All Li-ion battery contains lithium (duh) that needs to be mined in the 3rd world countries (Bolivia for instance), which requires heavy machinery that burns fossil fuel to operate. Aside from the mining operation, these materials have to be sent to another country with high technology for manufacture (which, may I remind you, also burns fossil fuel for energy). Then the finished product will have to be shipped to Tesla's manufacturing plant in the states, which have to be unloaded with heavy machinery at the docks, then truck to Tesla's manufacturing plant for installation.

Green, zero-emission car? Yeh right. But again, as they said, "ignorance is bliss" =).

RE: A $15,000 car?
By theapparition on 2/12/2009 3:49:43 PM , Rating: 2
my understanding is that you do not have to shift an electric motor driven vehicle, because the motor does not lag in power due to too high or too low RPMs,

Nope, still need a transmision. Tesla's first models only had a single speed (?) model which severely hurt performance.

While torque is pretty much linearly constant with electric motors, you still need the torque multiplication that is necessary with gearing to achieve desireable performance. Otherwise, it would be like trying to move from a stand-still in 6th gear.
It is also necessary to increase top speed utilizing an overspeed gear.

RE: A $15,000 car?
By MoJo600rr on 2/12/2009 1:47:52 PM , Rating: 2
Lotus suppies them with a glider, which is a complete chassis minus the engine. I believe they even fabricate the body panels, so they are pretty much just outfitting them with their motor tech. and while the engine of a gas car is maybe the most exspensive single unti of the car, the car chassis as a whole is worth much more than the engine. I had an S2K and the car was $30k, but the motor is only worth about $6k

RE: A $15,000 car?
By Spuke on 2/12/2009 2:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
neon srt4, wrx, mazdaspeed3, evo
The Evo is a $30k car, the WRX and others can be had for well under that amount.

Tesla Says It Will Finally Be Profitable By Mid-2009
By acase on 2/12/2009 11:18:07 AM , Rating: 4
...and everyone laughs.

By yomamafor1 on 2/12/2009 11:29:09 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, after they've done screwing existing customers, and they're now finally profitable?

They should've been profitable months ago when they demanded up-front down payment when they haven't even purchased the material to actually produce a car.

By TomZ on 2/12/2009 12:38:19 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I agree - the chances of them being profitable mid year are probably 1:10. It is more likely they will be asking for bankruptcy protection.

By quiksilvr on 2/12/2009 1:57:43 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. They had amazing technology and fcuked it all up with their idiotic roadster. Why didn't they just make a 4 door sedan for $50,000? They would have sold so much more.

By Aloonatic on 2/12/2009 4:34:55 PM , Rating: 3
Whilst I agree with your point in general about 4 door cars being a larger market, the roadster has given them a lot of attention as they are just a more interesting and sexy type of car that has grabbed the headlines.

They've taken the "envirocar" into territory that it had never been before. Until they came along all we had seen was boring and rather ugly 4 door cars that hardly set anyone's pulses racing with their performance figures or looks.

Now that they have got people exited and changed perceptions of these kinds of vehicle, a well designed 4 door that doesn't look like every other car that's just come out of a wind tunnel, they could really make them a lot of money.

If only people had money to spend.

We can finally make money.
By A Stoner on 2/12/2009 11:53:40 AM , Rating: 5
For our $125,000 car, that costs us $150,000 to make, we have come up with a way to make money. We charge pre-order customers an extra $10,000, we then get the government to chip in $12,500, we get electricity companies who are directed by the government to do this anyways to give us $2,500. We have investors grant us a large check, and viola, we are in the green. If this was a real car, for it's performance we would only be able to sell it for about $15,000, but since we were able to convince enough retards out there that this is going to help save the environment, we can sell it for $125,000 and those retards are even willing to be suckered into handing over even more money before delivery. Thank god somebody decided to make CO2, the best friend plants and thus animals and humans have in the atmosphere, into some evil pollutant that must be stamped out of existance. The next evil environmental pollutant we must attack will be dihydrogen oxide, a chemical that is responsible for untold numbers of deaths per year, billions in damages per year, burns, slips, falls and many of lifes other ills. Let's ban dihydrogen oxide and see what kind of reject companies are built from the fall-out, ones like TESLA?

RE: We can finally make money.
By yomamafor1 on 2/12/2009 2:57:55 PM , Rating: 2
I remember in one episode of Penn & Teller's BS, they actually got people's signature of banning dihidrogen monoxide at a green rally. Even the rally leader put her signature on it.

How can people be this stupid?

RE: We can finally make money.
By Dreifort on 2/12/2009 3:03:10 PM , Rating: 3
How can people be this stupid?

Not sure scientifically how they became stupid...but there are perks to being stupid. Such as becoming an elected official (at many different levels to choose from) and governing over masses.

By Trikat on 2/12/2009 12:00:11 PM , Rating: 1
"Founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk, who became a billionaire by founding PayPal..."

So Mr. Musk founded PayPal, which manages to piss off a TON of people with unethical practices.
Then he goes on to Tesla which decides to piss off even more people, mainly that fiasco with posting a blog that lays off employees.
I kind of hate this guy...

RE: PayPal...
By ebakke on 2/12/2009 12:10:24 PM , Rating: 2
So Mr. Musk founded PayPal, which manages to piss off a TON of people with unethical practices.
But wasn't that primarily after eBay bought PayPal?

RE: PayPal...
By Trikat on 2/13/2009 12:03:58 AM , Rating: 2
I used PayPal before eBay swooped in and at that time scams were fairly easy to do.
I'm sure many heard about the swap the shipment with rocks fiasco(s)... And no body can forget when PayPal holds somebody's money indefinitely. It still happens these days.
After eBay, security tightened up (very slowly) and they had some "fairer" terms put in place.
Even to this day the PayPal claims department has been quite a joke. My main beef is with their lack of taking care of sellers. Who pays the fees? Sellers/recipients do...

RE: PayPal...
By randomly on 2/12/2009 2:05:35 PM , Rating: 2
Paypal only pissed people off after it was aquired by Ebay, not when it was under Elon Musk.

And yet again another gross error by Jason Mick.

Musk is only worth about $300 million, he only owned 11.7% of the Paypal stock when it sold. But Billionaire just rolls of the tongue easier doesn't it Jason? But we shouldn't insist on accuracy or truth from news articles, as long as they are entertaining, right?

RE: PayPal...
By TomZ on 2/12/2009 3:38:33 PM , Rating: 2
Paypal has always pissed me off, before and after it was acquired. Many of their policies are annoying and seem to impose very arbitrary limitations in their services. Not to mention the fees, of course. I avoid Paypal as much as a I can.

I tried it
By kontorotsui on 2/12/2009 11:49:57 AM , Rating: 5
I tried it while on holiday in California. I'm impressed by performance, overall car comfort is very low (as low as a Ferrari, BTW) but I will say here what I told the sales manager then.

I will buy it once the battery pack doubles the capacity, halves the weight and price.
Whenever it happens.

(and don't reply "divide by zero")

RE: I tried it
By SandmanWN on 2/12/2009 3:58:49 PM , Rating: 2
Multiply by Zero!

PayPal and Tesla
By pscheibal on 2/12/2009 12:37:57 PM , Rating: 2
It comes no supprise that Tesla screwed their own employees and their customers. Elon Musk did the same thing to his PayPal customers. He did it to me! I would not buy anything from this guy.

By Gul Westfale on 2/12/2009 10:38:41 PM , Rating: 2
well, i would be, if i got enough government grants to first set up a business... then i could make money. yep, you give me untold millions of your taxpayer's cash and then i'll make some money, for myself, of course. yes yes.

give me money?
By icegreenhemp on 2/14/2009 4:52:53 PM , Rating: 2
the billionaire gets 350 million... either way, if he's worth hundreds of millions, why not get off his butt and use his cash to oh i dont know fund his own business?
this kinda garbage is whats ruining the us economy
stupid decisions.

By Dreifort on 2/12/09, Rating: -1
RE: copycats
By acase on 2/12/2009 11:32:11 AM , Rating: 1
I should write a song about him, but Living Colour beat me to it.

"Desperate People"?

RE: copycats
By tallcool1 on 2/12/2009 12:58:23 PM , Rating: 2
Cult of Personality

RE: copycats
By acase on 2/12/2009 1:26:18 PM , Rating: 2
I know what he meant...i thought that was funnier.

RE: copycats
By Dreifort on 2/12/2009 2:32:39 PM , Rating: 2
it is funnier ;)

RE: copycats
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 2/12/2009 11:38:23 AM , Rating: 5
"The Obama administration has thankfully made it a top priority to move quickly on the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program."

The operative words here are "move quickly" not created the legislation. When I read it, I understood it to mean the legislation had been in effect, but had not been acted upon by the previous administration.

RE: copycats
By callmeroy on 2/12/2009 12:30:14 PM , Rating: 2
That's exactly what is true about it -- the OP is just another standard DT poster fast on the draw to negatively spin things -- apparently even when there is nothing to spin.

RE: copycats
By joey2264 on 2/12/2009 11:38:36 AM , Rating: 5
I know your hate colored your quick posting, but maybe you should have thought for more than 5 seconds before you did. He didn't praise Obama for the creation of the program, he praised him on the quick disbursement of funds from the program. Knowing the government's slow movement on most matters, that was at least a small achievement.

You can now return to your thoughtlessly nattering, conservative prattle.

RE: copycats
By TomZ on 2/12/2009 12:40:20 PM , Rating: 2
I don't seen anything "conservative" in the OP's statement. Do you even know what the word means?

RE: copycats
By Dreifort on 2/12/2009 2:31:21 PM , Rating: 2
I guess Obama helped with the Steelers victory in the last Super Bowl by speeding up the process of the victory. He didn't create it, he just sped up the victory?

That is why CEO Rooney thanked not God, not the fans, not the players...but Obama first and foremost for his team's Super Bowl victory.

It is clear what Telsa was doing. Just as it was clear what Rooney was doing. Both were bending over.

RE: copycats
By TomZ on 2/12/2009 3:07:29 PM , Rating: 3
No, I believe the US taxpayer is the one doing the bending over.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

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